The Penguins took the ice once again Thursday morning for the second day of training camp. I haven't been able to get down to the Igloo to watch a practice yet, but I'm hoping to be in attendance for the Saturday morning skate before the Penguins host Tampa Bay in their pre-season opener on Saturday night.
Penguins' blogger, Jesse Marshall, of Faceoff Factor has been in attendance for each of the two Penguins' practices. Here's the rundown on day number two of training camp, courtesy of Faceoff Factor.
Jesse starts his recap by mentioning that Penguins' defenseman Rob Scuderi was absent from practice today. Scuderi joined fellow Penguin defenseman, Ryan Whitney on the absentee sheet. There is no word about why Scuderi was not present, but hopefully this isn't the beginning of an early injury bug amongst Penguin defensemen.
The lines were basically the same as day one during the scrimmage. The combinations of Dupuis-Crosby-Satan and Cooke-Talbot-Fedotenko made up the top two lines of the "White Team" offense, while Gonchar-Orpik and Sydor-Goligoski occupied the blue line. John Curry and Dany Sabourin minded the net for the White Team.
The Black Team's top lines consisted of Staal-Malkin-Sykora and Pesonen-Taffe-Kennedy with the top two blueline pairings being Letang-Eaton and Kemp-Gill. David Brown and Fleury were the goaltenders.
The scrimmage ended with the final score 2-0, favoring Team White. Ben Lovejoy and Ruslan Fedotenko scored the goals. Dany Sabourin, the likely backup to Marc-Andre Fleury, has not allowed a single goal in either scrimmage so far during training camp, a reassuring stat for apprehensive Penguin fans.
Jesse goes on to say that both Fleury and Sabourin looked extremely solid between the pipes and states that second year defenseman Kristopher Letang was "the sharpest player on the ice today."
Heavy emphasis was placed on the fore-check at practice today, with Michel Therrien conducting several drills that stressed the importance of applying pressure and creating turnovers with a hard fore-check.
Jesse adds that Jordan Staal looks "reinvigorated" this season and seems to have much more of a jump in his step than he did at this time last year. Staal's stick handling skills looked to have improved from his sophomore campaign, which is a good thing if he is going to be playing alongside Malkin this year.
On a dimmer note, Jesse says that newly-acquired Finnish superstar, Janne Pesonen is facing an uphill battle if he hopes to make the Penguins' team this season. Pesonen didn't look bad, but he hasn't looked good enough to replace anyone who already has a solid spot in the lineup. Such a short training camp (three days) can't help Pesonen's situation much either.
New Penguins' sniper Miroslav Satan scored two goals in the scrimmage yesterday, but failed to get on the score sheet today. Jesse says that Crosby set Satan up twice, but he failed to convert on either opportunity. Still, Jesse adds, Satan's stick handling ability was on display once again today.
It seems that the Penguins' top three lines are pretty well intact, with Tyler Kennedy likely returning to the lineup somewhere on the fourth line. The only question marks remain in the final two fourth line positions.
It seems that it will be a five-man race for the final two spots involving Pesonen, Jeff Taffe, Ben Lovejoy, Eric Godard, and Danny Richmond. Which two players are in the opening night lineup will likely depend on their performance during the Penguins' five pre-season games.
Taffe was with the team for most of last season and didn't hurt the team at all. Godard will likely be used in certain situations, as the enforcer when the Penguins are playing a physical team such as Philadelphia or Anaheim. Ben Lovejoy and Danny Richmond both played in the AHL last season and will likely be battling with Pesonen and Luca Caputi for the final roster spot.